A release provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) has shown, though the curve of contagions had remained stable during summer in the northern hemisphere, infections had once again picked up in almost every continent through October and November, resulting in what has now been referred to as the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Amid the rising cases, experts have once again affirmed that the most efficient approach to contain the virus spreading is by limiting social contact, wearing face masks, sanitizing, as well as conducting tests for Covid-19.
Several countries have already begun to implement new Covid-19 restrictions. These include Argentina, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and South Korea, among others. This is anticipated to continue through December - while it is fair to expect the pandemic situation might improve after lockdowns, restrictions are likely in case any relaxation of measures triggers a new surge of cases in countries that have adopted such an approach. With Christmas around the corner, most countries in the western hemisphere have also scrambled for ways to tame the virus in time for the occasion that usually see family members and friends coming together. The likelihood of such gatherings however remains bleak as some governments have already warned that they could be severely curtailed to avoid sparking further infections.
Sharp rise in Covid-19 infections has been reported across Europe and the Americas beginning October. (Source: World Health Organisation)
Another concern related to the pandemic is the series of anti-lockdown protests in several countries, including Argentina, the United Kingdom, and Germany. These demonstrations remain likely across Europe in countries with well-organized activist groups taking the lead. Countries whose economy has been severely affected by the pandemic also remain prone to face related unrest, that at times could turn deadly or cause major damage to properties.
Heading into December, the uncertainty regarding public policies and fresh Covid-19-associated restrictions will certainly continue to impact the travel industry as well. Low demand for traveling and government-imposed measures - frequently with short notice – mean that flight cancellation or rescheduling are always on the horizon, while the prospect of entering some countries could be a challenge due to enhanced health screenings. Though some airlines have resumed services, disruptions to air and land travel should still be expected amidst strict governmental measures.
Although President Donald J Trump has agreed to begin the transition, his delay in conceding defeat did not only cause political repercussions but also triggered protests from both his supporters and detractors as well as instability on the stock markets. Trump’s relentless pursuit of victory had only made people wonder what his next moves will be and how the transition will pan out come 20 January next year.
Trump, even before the election, had claimed that fraud was possible during the 2020 elections and that has been his narrative since his loss on 4 November. After more than three weeks, the president still claimed that the elections were rigged on his Twitter, prompting the social networking site to flag such tweets for disputable information. His legal team has launched at least 36 lawsuits across battleground states to contest the counting of the votes or other alleged frauds. Twenty-six of the lawsuits have already been denied, dismissed or withdrawn. The contention however can be stretched until 8 December, when States must deliver their electoral counts to Congress and from there, it would still be more than a month till inauguration takes place.
During this period, the political uncertainty can lead, as it had post-election, to massive demonstrations by supporters of both political spectrums. The continuous refusal of Trump to acknowledge the election results also raises the fear of more violent response. Additionally, his adamant resistance to leave office even after disputes are legally settled had also fueled doubts among his supporters on the legitimacy of a Biden presidency thus resulting in occasional tension between communities across the country.
Markets and investors seem to have already been working with the official outcome since it was first announced. The oscillation of stock markets and dollar have been average for the post-electoral period. A lingering dispute over the results could, however, lead to a turbulent market. Even more so, if the battle goes beyond legal grounds. There is little chance that Trump’s campaign to change electoral results will work. The long-lasting financial and social impacts this battle caused however will probably outlive it.
What to look out for this month:
Chan Hoi Cheong
Senior Analyst and Office Manager Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Analyst Sao Paolo, Brazil
Gabriela Ribeiro de Araujo
Analyst Sao Paulo, Brazil
Senior Analyst Lund, Sweden